National Geographic, which nows runs Scienceblogs.com, has put the hammer down on anonymous blogs.
Really, that whole thing was always a little sketchy. Supposedly the rationale was that these people were going to be edgy insiders revealing things too explosive for mainstream media and maybe damaging to their careers but it mostly ended up being a way to rant about politics without accountability.
Now, the drugmonkey column is actually pretty good - good enough that I read it and that's where I saw the announcement - but the paranoia has always run a little high over there. He/she thinks National Geographic wanted some über-powerful brand and nothing more, not the contributors, but the Scienceblogs.com brand was nothing special. The people were what made it successful, certainly SEED Media did little to help other than getting Chris Mims to do all of the work in the beginning.
Adam Bly worked on NG for a year to take it over, asking for first a lot of money and then a little and then none at all because he wanted it to look like an accretive acquisition to the public and for the writers at Scienceblogs.com to feel like it was a step up and they had made it to the big leagues. But National Geographic did not regard it that way, there was clearly internal dissent about taking it at all because the brand was not well regarded, outside the minds of some Scienceblogs people who truly thought no one read anyone but them.
When you buy a successful 'brand' you do not change it. Take Google buying YouTube - YouTube was successful and Google Video was not. The last thing Google wanted to do was change that because it was successful. All they had to do was monetize it. Scienceblogs was not successful in the eyes of National Geographic but they felt like they could make it so, and monetize it where SEED could not, namely by making it a science site Republicans and religious people could read, just like National Geographic itself.
While they are losing one pretty good blog, the credibility of the site goes way up when the content is more mainstream science written and by people with visible credentials. There are early adopters in any nascent medium, science blogging is still just that, and sometimes early adopters get marginalized when the market grows. National Geographic may make Scienceblogs into "The Borg" some of their contributors claimed it was just before the company went out of business but if they do, it will partially be because they require real names for real people and that earns the trust of the audience.
The other part in that will be that the National Geographic brand is real - and it is big. Few companies get to that size without knowing what they are doing.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- What Lies Beneath West Antarctica?
- The Genetic History Of Ice Age Europe
- Exodus 2100: Due To Climate Change
- One Third Of Antibiotic Prescriptions Unnecessary
- New Interpretation Of The Rök Runestone Inscription Changes View Of Viking Age
- Race And Racism 101 Lecture 1 Intro & Terminology
- Professor Frenkel: Why Shouldn't We Drop Algebra From Our Education System?
- "Please email me, I want to know every bit of knowledge you can provide. I've got so many questions...."
- "Phew! Finally!! Trouble is, you have to have an IQ of well over 100 to understand it. PLUS, you..."
- "Top US scientist Hal Lewis resigned from his post at the University of California after admitting..."
- " Hilarious! ..."
- " Warning! Warning! Warning! elfish is a privileged troll living for an ivory tower! http://plato..."
- Froggie went a courtin' and waved goodbye to rival wooers
- Children react physically to stress from their social networks
- Reef system with 10,000 km2 found at the Amazon River mouth
- Research-based exercise program turning preschoolers into 'Fit Kids'
- Genetic switch could be key to increased health and lifespan